Day 10: Boats and Palaces! Yeay!

Today we visited the Cat Lai terminal port, the largest in Vietnam, and the 21st biggest in the world. After we drove for about an hour, we walked into the conference room, and the lecturer began.

Her lecture opened my eyes to the incredible vastness of a large business. They have to keep track of thousands of enormous containers, make sure they come from the right place, and verify they arrive at the correct destination. They have to organize them in an easily accessible way, and they have to follow tons of regulations and rules in working with the Vietnamese government.

Created by the Ministry of Defense in 1989, this Vietnamese port company called, “Saigon Newport” is a well run and oiled machine, making sure things get to where they need to be essentially. But what struck me wasn’t what they do, but how they do.

Everywhere we went on the business campus, we saw people coordinated, focused, and determined to get the job done. When we went outside and when we could see the workers moving containers from a boat onto a specific place on the ground, when we went into the master control room, and even as we were looking outside from inside the bus, it was evident that this was organized well. Sure, any kind of company requires solid organization and management, but this company seemed different from others. People weren’t lollygagging around, doing nothing, standing at the water fountain. I believe this is precisely what makes SNP the most modern biggest container terminal operator in Vietnam and why it holds the biggest market share in the Vietnamese port market, accounting for more than 90% of the market share in Ho Chi Minh City alone, too.

This visit conveyed to me that working in business isn’t just about going to college for four years, showing up from 9 to 5, and receiving a paycheck. It requires so much more that I even I literally don’t know yet. To run an entire business takes many people, working in harmony to function well, at all times, with the help of information systems (my current major) to maximize profits.

Additionally, it was awesome to see the control room and their implementation of information systems. As soon as we walked in, we could see several giant TV screens broadcasting their ERP systems planning the master operations. An especially with SNP’s transition to a smart port and the Industrial Revolution 4.0, information systems I believe are a leading force of business and will always help to improve he functions and efficiency of every business through technology. That ultimately is my work goal.

After, we went to the reunification palace, which was right next to our hotel. Touring this really reminded me of the white house, even the basic layout. There were many beautiful bedrooms, conference rooms, a garden, rooftop views, a balcony, etc. It was especially cool to see the inside of it and the granite floors and the interior design. What really stuck out to me the most was just the fact that just 45 years ago a tank demolished the front gate to signify North Vietnam taking over Saigon, and now it’s a beautiful and peaceful palace for the country, representing, you guessed it, reunification.

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